Brent, list

> Your explication seems to turn on a pun.  "End" as something of value doesn't 
> imply a beginning.

To the contrary an end or goal or terminus generally entails a beginning. A 
person interested in this subject from a theoretical viewpoint does have to 
confront that. It may help to have some acquaintance with past thought on the 

> Sure, people care about (value) all kinds of things; even the words used to 
> describe things - see recent debate over "theology" vs "metaphysics" - some 
> inherently, some instrumentally, and some mixed.  But I'm not sure I'd call 
> those "powers" - I guess you mean something like "motivations".

I mean like power, control, force, things that make things happen or not 
happen, things that decide what happens. People want to decide and determine 
things, not just be means to things or to be the ends, Pygmalions or prey, of 

>> They care about their relationship, such as they believe it to be, their 
>> relationship to the power of the universe itself. 

> The power of the universe itself"?  What would that be?  Are you going all 
> mystical on me?

I'm talking about religious people and people who at least have religious 
tendencies. Religion is a common phenomenon with a lot of history to it.

>> These are sources, beginnings, leaderships, principles, (Greek) _/arches/_. 
>> This is not mere instrumentality. Deciding and determining is not a mere 
>> means, the decider employs means to ends. The decider in that sense is the 
>> beginning, the leader.

> Not if no one follows.

The leader of one's own process. As in, being in charge, in situations where 
being in charge is not a given. This situation includes basic aspects of one's 
>> _/Arches kai mesa/_, beginnings/leadings, and means. It's the difference 
>> between (a) **will & character** and (b) **ability & competence**. Aristotle 
>> wrote his ethical treatises about character in a broader sense than 
>> exclusively that of morality, and character in that broader sense is what 
>> it's about. It's a shame that Aristotle didn't also write treatises about 
>> ability and competence, _/hikanoteta/_. Now, a carpenter, for instance, is 
>> not simply a means to carpentry, a means for carpented things to actualize 
>> themselves. 

> Has anyone every suggested such a thing?

You have commited yourself to that view in dividing everything into means and 
ends ("instrumental value" and "inherent value"). Since you hold that view, you 
must say that the carpenter's decision to do a job is a means to that job or 
the end of that job. Yet it is plain that the carpenter's decision is the 
carpenter's means and it is plain that the job is not a means for the carpenter 
to decide to do the job. This shows the inadequacy of means-ends as a 
dichotomy, a division of a whole into two.

>>The carpenter tries and deliberates, pursues, chooses or accepts (or 
>>rejects), and adheres to (or renounces) his/her underlying decisions even to 
>>do the work at all, throughout the process. Is all this volition a "means"? 
>>Somebody else's means, perhaps; the market's means perhaps, and so on. But it 
>>isn't the carpenter's means, it's the carpenter's leading, deciding, etc. 
>>which, by means, tools, resources, s/he carries out. This striving and 
>>deciding is most clearly seen as no mere means in contexts where control is 
>>truly at stake. 

> I would suppose that a carpenter has pride of workmanship and so there is 
> inherent pleasure in doing his job well.  His choice of this tool or that is 
> partly instrumental relative to that pleasure.  But he also does carpentry as 
> a means to food, shelter, etc.

So what? You're confusing the decision-making with the goals and values and 
feelings, as if, given a set of goals, the decisions were already made, or get 
made automatically, and as if people's decision-making were a trivial process. 
But goals and values and feelings sometimes conflict, in multifarious ways. 
Sometimes there is no clear answer and one has to decide anyway.

>>In the carpenter's sawing, hammering, etc., the exercise of skills and 
>>abilities, control is not really at stake. But in the carpenter's will and 
>>decision-making, control of the situation among various factors in the 
>>carpenter is at stake. 

> I think I understand the words, but the sentence leaves me blank.

The carpenter may be of more than one mind on what to do. I don't mean that the 
carpenter has a multiple personality. I mean that the carpenter may be of more 
than one mind in just the sense that "more than one mind" is commnly used. Some 
element in the carpenter's mind will have to gain the upper hand. This will 
embody certain interests and efforts rather than others by the carpenter in 
his/her life. Or maybe the carpenter will solve diverse problems together with 
creative solution.

>> Now, one is free to devise an epicycle-filled "anthropo-nomy" in order to 
>> describe intelligent beings while classing volition and decision-making as 
>> mere means, but it's not particularly useful. 

> It's the basis of a whole branch of mathematics called decision theory, a 
> branch which is widely *used*.

They can use it all they like, that won't stop the terminology from being 
inferior. Since we're talking about mathematicians, in whom eloquence is rarer 
than speech in goldfish, my safe guess is that they're just using words like 
"means" or "instrumentality" in sub-optimal ways. Economists talk about the 
inherent value which people ascribe to things but they call it "utility value." 
Unfortunately I can't recommend contemporary lit. depts. as any sort of remedy. 
Anyway, I see no reason to take such terminologies seriously -- it's useless 
and counterproductive when the purpose is understanding.

>> Another way to see this is by a set of examples comprising an exhaustive set 
>> of a certain kind of combinations of the two.

> What two - you seem to introduce a lot more than two things below?

1. Choice and decision-making.
2. Means, methods, practices.
Then I combine those two things in four ways.

>> Or maybe a lot of categories we've invented for the work.

Politics & martial affairs; business; management & compliance; skills of labor 
& cooperation -- "invented categories"? That's not a serious remark.

> I'm always suspicious of schemes with "Levels".  Sometimes the schemer 
> invents the levels to put his opinions at the highest (and implicity, the 
> best) level.

I was talking about Tegmark's Levels and correlations thereto, as I mentioned 
that I thought I should try to bring the discussion "back to the Everything," 
I'm not aware of high-low valuations among those Levels.

Ben Udell

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